One of the best things about the state fair is the deep fried edible glory that accompanies it.Â It’s like junk food Christmas. However, there are so many options throughout Cal Expo that you’re just as likely to waste those precious calories that you’ve been hoarding all summer on just average junk instead of on incredible junk.Â Hopefully this little list will help you from stepping into a grease and candy filled pothole with your dining choices.
Best Meal: BBQ Beef sandwich at “Buns on the Run” – Still the best food seller at the fair, this little trailer on the east side of the park, just across from the petting zoo with the word “Sausage” emblazoned on it’s sign doles out the best meal on the grounds. The bbq beef is sweet and succulent, the roll is incredible, a deep fried masterpiece of dough science, and the homemade potato chips on the side are just awesome. Also, this place does a damn fine boneless rib sandwich.
Best Deep Fried Delicacy: Deep Fried Oreos at Chicken Charlie’s– Charlie’s has been setting the standard in deep fried audaciousness for years now. I was a huge fan of the fried Elvis — a battered and fried peanut butter and banana sandwich — but it was taken off the men after the piping hot pb sent 158 people to the local burn unit. Now, I go for the Oreos with chocolate sauce. The small cookies have a great filling to breading ratio and they manage to stay fairly crispy inside the batter shell. However, if you’re really daring and haven’t eaten this year , try the deep fried White Castle Hamburger.
Best Sweet Treat: Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls– Two stands, one located in the county exhibit building, the other on the east side of the consumer pavilion (aka crap hut) , dole out some of the best cinnamon rolls in the world. The syrupy white frosting and tender cinnamon ladened dough is on par with the finest Austrian pastry. It’s only improved by asking for extra “gunk,” which is the cinnamon, sugar and butter on the bottom of the pan scraped up and sprinkled on top of your roll.
Best Childish Adult Beverage: Wine Slushies at the Wine Garden– You like wine, right? You like slushy beverages too? ‘Nuff said. One word of warning though, besides brain freeze, these childish delights will sneak up on you, especially on a hot day. Make sure to balance each glass with a trip to the free water tent.
Best thing you can only get at the fair: Smoked Turkey Leg– There’s something wonderfully cromagnon-like about ripping into a giant smoked turkey leg, the meat still pink from the smoke, the skin crispy and greasy in your teeth. Keep an eye out for the two giant smokers on either end of the crap hut for the best meaty goodness around. And always, always bring a few friends to share the leg with you. I suggest just holding the leg in front of your face and having a circle of hungry friends alternately rip off chunks — with their hands or their teeth — until there’s nothing left but bone and sinew. It’s like some wonderfully pagan ritual that feels all too familiar in that old hunter/gatherer part of your brain.